Monthly Archives: April, 2006

Fly by Night

I finally finished this today – it’s one of the books VATE sent me to review.  It’s by Frances Hardinge; I think it may be a debut.  It was brilliant!  Highly original and interesting.  The writing was very entertaining – the descriptions were original and evocative; the characters were fascinating and believable; and the world as a whole is one I would love to read more about.  I’m really looking forward to writing the review, and I think I will probably donate the book to school – I can’t in good conscience have it sitting on my bookcase and not being read by other people who might enjoy it.

I love Australia

I’m watching SBS’ programme, Insight, with people talking about multiculturalism and Muslim and democracy and Australian values.  The Deputy Mayor from wherever (Ashfield; his name is Nick Mason) is a KNOB – “Australia is a paradise”??  Please!!  Bob from One Nation calling Pauline Hanson a political prisoner of the Labor Party nearly made me fall off the chair laughing.  Get rid of multiculturalism?? How does that work?  And what does it mean?  The suggestion was to replace it with integration… how boring!  What makes you Australian?  The values they’re espousing could be called the values of at least most Western democracies!  As one woman said, how jingoistic of us to call those ours!  I liked Libbie Gorr’s metaphor of Australia no longer being the nuclear family, but rather a blended family that needs to change its ideas. 

Yes!! Someone has just mentioned needing a Bill of Rights – hurrah!  Bring it on. 

I love that we can have this discussion – and I can write that Nick Mason is a slimy, self-satisfied fatcat – and no one is going to kick my door down.  Healthy discussion and democracy; oh yeh.

So sad that ‘mateship’ has been politicised; darn you Johnny!  I don’t like it for the mythologised ANZAC history – since I beleive that blokes at that stage wouldn’t have called their friends mates – but I like it because it implies a friendliness, but you don’t need to know the person.  It makes me think of Eddings’ Sparhawk, always calling people “neighbour” but it’s shorter.

I like the range of people in this discussion.  Long-time Aussies and immgirants; politicians, reporters, ad men, comedians (Mikey!  Libbie!), Mustapha (he’s cool – from some Muslim group, responded very well to Nasty Bob from One Nation), other totally random types.

One Aussie value?  Tolerance… commitment to equality… “a fair go”… embracing each other, indeed, instead of just tolerance – yes!

Nick Mason is truly slimy and nasty.

Way too many books

I’m reading four different books at the moment.

I’ve just started Firestorm of the Lord, bu Stuart Piggin – it’s a historical and theological look at Christian revival; I’m reading it for a history reading group a friend of mine has set up.  I have to read it by Friday night…

Fly by Night, by Frances Harding – one of the books sent to me by VATE for review for next term.  I’m loving it.

The Struggle for Mastery, by – someone – it’s about politics and relationships in and between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales between 1066 and 1284.

The Cross of Christ, by John Stott – which I’ve been reading bits of for most of the year; it’s just so dense!

It’s all a bit overwhelming.  At least with one, I’ve got a very near deadline – that makes some of decision easier to make.

Movie Meme

How exciting – my first meme!  yeh yeh, sad I know… bold=seen, *=loved.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick*
“The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut
“8 1/2” (1963) Federico Fellini
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog
“Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott*
“All About Eve” (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
“Annie Hall” (1977) Woody Allen
“Bambi” (1942) Disney
“Battleship Potemkin” (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
“The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) William Wyler
“The Big Red One” (1980) Samuel Fuller
“The Bicycle Thief” (1949) Vittorio De Sica
“The Big Sleep” (1946) Howard Hawks
“Blade Runner” (1982) Ridley Scott*
“Blowup” (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
“Blue Velvet” (1986) David Lynch
“Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) Arthur Penn
“Breathless” (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) Howard Hawks
“Carrie” (1975) Brian DePalma
“Casablanca” (1942) Michael Curtiz*
“Un Chien Andalou” (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
“Children of Paradise” / “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945) Marcel Carne
“Chinatown” (1974) Roman Polanski
“Citizen Kane” (1941) Orson Welles
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick
“The Crying Game” (1992) Neil Jordan
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951) Robert Wise
“Days of Heaven” (1978) Terence Malick
“Dirty Harry” (1971) Don Siegel
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) Luis Bunuel
“Do the Right Thing” (1989) Spike Lee
“La Dolce Vita” (1960) Federico Fellini
“Double Indemnity” (1944) Billy Wilder
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964) Stanley Kubrick
“Duck Soup” (1933) Leo McCarey
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) Steven Spielberg*
“Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper
“The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) Irvin Kershner*
“The Exorcist” (1973) William Friedkin
“Fargo” (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
“Fight Club” (1999) David Fincher
“Frankenstein” (1931) James Whale
“The General” (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
“The Godfather,” “The Godfather, Part II” (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
“Gone With the Wind” (1939) Victor Fleming
“GoodFellas” (1990) Martin Scorsese
“The Graduate” (1967) Mike Nichols
“Halloween” (1978) John Carpenter
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) Richard Lester
“Intolerance” (1916) D.W. Griffith
“It’s A Gift” (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Frank Capra
“Jaws” (1975) Steven Spielberg*
“The Lady Eve” (1941) Preston Sturges
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) David Lean*
“M” (1931) Fritz Lang
“Mad Max 2” / “The Road Warrior” (1981) George Miller
“The Maltese Falcon” (1941) John Huston
“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) John Frankenheimer
“Metropolis” (1926) Fritz Lang
“Modern Times” (1936) Charles Chaplin
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam*
“Nashville” (1975) Robert Altman
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955) Charles Laughton
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) George Romero
“North by Northwest” (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
“Nosferatu” (1922) F.W. Murnau
“On the Waterfront” (1954) Elia Kazan
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) Sergio Leone
“Out of the Past” (1947) Jacques Tournier
“Persona” (1966) Ingmar Bergman
“Pink Flamingos” (1972) John Waters
“Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
“Pulp Fiction” (1994) Quentin Tarantino
“Rashomon” (1950) Akira Kurosawa
“Rear Window” (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
“Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) Nicholas Ray
“Red River” (1948) Howard Hawks
“Repulsion” (1965) Roman Polanski
“Rules of the Game” (1939) Jean Renoir
“Scarface” (1932) Howard Hawks
“The Scarlet Empress” (1934) Josef von Sternberg
“Schindler’s List” (1993) Steven Spielberg
“The Searchers” (1956) John Ford
“The Seven Samurai” (1954) Akira Kurosawa
“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly*
“Some Like It Hot” (1959) Billy Wilder
“A Star Is Born” (1954) George Cukor
“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Elia Kazan
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950) Billy Wilder
“Taxi Driver” (1976) Martin Scorsese
“The Third Man” (1949) Carol Reed
“Tokyo Story” (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
“Touch of Evil” (1958) Orson Welles
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) John Huston
“Trouble in Paradise” (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
“Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
“West Side Story” (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
“The Wild Bunch” (1969) Sam Peckinpah
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) Victor Fleming

Quite why I bothered with this I don’t know, since there are so many here that I haven’t seen!  Lots that I do want to see, though, of course… even Gone with the Wind, since there seem to be so many parodies.

RSS feeds

My nasty J has introduced me to RSS feeds, originally because the sister has been talking to us largely by a LiveJournal blog.  So, I downloaded the program, and got her site on it.  Then I thought, “I wonder what sort of other blogs are out there?”  And you know what?  There are lots of interesting blogs out there.  Lots and lots of history ones.  It’s great.  If a little scary sometimes, simply because it means there is an awful lot more stuff I feel like I should read now, because it’s right there at my fingertips.  It’s great!

Emperor, by Conn Iggulden

So the bro-in-law gave me the second of these for Christmas, because he thought it looked good but couldn’t find the first.  I eventually got the first, and read it – and it’s good.  It’s an historical fiction go at Julius Caesar.  There’s enough lee-way in what’s not known about him, especially in his early life, that I guess you can get away with some playing around.  There are a few bits that I didn’t approve of – a few bits of poetic licence that I didn’t think were necessary, like Octavian being his cousin instead of grand-nephew.  However, if I mostly ignore that it’s meant to be historical, it’s a great story.  He’s a good writer – spins a good yarn – and I’m definitely going to be finding the next one.  I really, really liked the way he didn’t reveal Marcus’ full identity until the last page of the first book!  So clever.

Stargate series 2

So we watched almost all of series 2 over the last couple of days.  We’re getting quite a reputation with the people we’re borrowing from – I think because they, and the other people they lend them to, all have kids.  It certainly makes a difference to be able to watch it for the entire day, if we choose to.

And it was good.  Well, there were a couple of dumb episodes – Teal’c and his family, blah blah.  But the one where O’Neill and Teal’c switch minds – priceless!  Shows Christopher Judge isn’t as bad an actor as he seems, just playing the character.

Two excellent parodies

Pink’s “Stupid Girl” – so funny – I nearly fell off my chair at the imitation of Jessica Simpson.*

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Danu California” – I’d never thought of them as a band likely to do parodies, but they’re fantastic!  There are a couple of bands I can’t quite pick, but most of them I can.  Plus it’s a great song, too.

*My main experience of the original film clip was on a bus full of 14 and 15 year old boys, who were all very excited at seeing this clip on the TV up the front – and they pretty much all went quiet at the Car Washing Bikini scene.

Year of the Classics

I’ve decided this should be my Year for the Reading of the Gothic Classics.  I was watching Van Helsing the other day with my “I’ve studied Gothic novels” mother, who was disapproving that I have read none.  So the list contains:



Northanger Abbey

The Monk

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

… I think there were others, but that will do for now.  I also wonder if I should reallymake good my classicist pretenstions, and read some classic classics too – starting with Metamorphoses.  At least I have read Apollonius of Rhodes’ Argo, and Iliad and Odyssey; that makes the classic classics not such a huge job.


My dropsy Colombian tetra died over the weekend.  I guess it wasn’t a surprise.  I think the dropsy glowlight tetra is still alive, although I haven’t really looked closely lately.

The angels had more eggs last week; they were opaque, and were gone in a day.  I wonder if they have just started on a breeding pattern and will continue doing so, even though – as seems likely – the conditions are no longer optimal for their development.  Shame; I was rather looking forward to having some angel babies actually surviving.